ideas. Once we discover why the two have been combined, then we may see how they work to induce Grendel's mother to take revenge on her son's death, and how they work to persuade Beowulf to take vengeance for Aeschere's death. The poem's fusion of Christian and pagan ideals is a reflection of the time in which it was written. It was "a period in which the virtues of the heathen 'Heroic Age' were tempered by the gentleness of the new belief; an age warlike, yet Christian. As a good Christian, the poet found himself faced with the task of treating this origanally pagan material in a manner acceptable to a Christian audience" (Brodeur, 183)(Brodeur 219). The poem is "a Christian perception of the insane futility of the primitive Germanic thirst for vengeance; and the facts that Beowulf's chief adversaries are not men but monsters and that ... [the] king of the Geats did not seek wars with their neighboring tribes may reflect a Christian appreciation for peace among humans" (22). It was also a period in which people such as "Hrothgar and his Danes...were punished for their idolatry" (Brodeur 207). Yet it is the the Christian and pagan version of comitatus that lead Beowulf to avenge Aushere's death. Comitatus is an agreement of loyalty and protection that men have with their lord. But because of the time that poet makes Grendel into a Christian character. The last time the Grendel enters Heorot he is "wearing God's anger" (36). Grendel represents something evil. The poet then combines the pagan idea of Ragnarok to further show to his Christian audience that Beowulf is fighting for God. Ragnorok is the end of the world and when all good warriors must fight for their god. Grendel "was at war with God" (37). The good warrior, "the great-hearted kinsman of Hygelac had him by the hand" (37). Grendel's mother must "avenge the feud" (45). In other words, evil still lives. Therefore; Beowulf must make a boast (a pledge that sealed one's fate) to end the war of ragnarok. Beowulf himself says, "each of us must await his end of the world's life" (45). Beowulf boasts, "I promise you this: [Grendel's mother] will not be lost" (45) he will kill her. Finally, when we look at the wallpaper and see a red cross, we also see a cross between fighting for a Christian God and fighting for pagan vengeance. The blood of both Christ and vengeance combined on one cross together in a mead-hall of holy ground. Pagan vs. Christian Influences in Beowulf
At the time of its creation, Beowulf was influenced by Pagan rituals, deities and ideas, but by passing down the epic narrative word of mouth, an age of Christianity will have had a residual effect on the story. The mix of ideas is not a struggle for religious power in the story, but Paganism's heroic ideals and Christianity's self-sacrificing virtues blend to form a delicate mosaic that could not have formed otherwise. Danish Paganism highly regards the concepts of Fame, Fate and Vengeance, and these are highly evident in Beowulf, but within these are woven the Christian qualities of loyalty, humility, sacrifice for the good of others and sympathy for those less fortunate. The story also subtly hints at the negative consequences of greed and pride throughout, also falling under Christian influence. Paganism today can be grouped by the belief that there is a pantheon of gods or deities, each controlling the fate of the world. There was a Roman Pantheon, a Greek Pantheon, a Celtic Pantheon, which may not have as many characters in it as the former, but it still was not considered a monotheistic religion like Christianity or Islam, where they focus on a single omniscient being (Dunwhich 11). Roman and Greek Paganism were hugely different than northern Europe's more magically based style. In Celtic Paganism, the theme is more peaceful, and its few warriors are known for their renowned deeds that could normally surpass a regular human's limits, such as Beowulf (Buhres 20). Northern Paganism differs from the...
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